ELECTRONIC security has always been about finding a balance between dichotomous needs; hair trigger sensitivity, yet reliability; easy access, yet high security; low light performance yet wide dynamic range; high resolution, yet low bit rate; low price yet high quality; ease of installation, yet powerful integration. 

Looking back over 2015, it’s possible to see the tension imposed by all these improbable bedfellows, to see the ways in which the laws of physics and the forces of the market end up shaping our solutions, rough hew them how we will. Alongside these conflicting demands, however, it’s also possible to see the shape of a future beginning to emerge. It’s a powerful future. 

Integration, which has been a buzzword for many years, is becoming the key operational functionality end users demand. And as digitisation beds down, integration is becoming more accessible. The siloed nature of past solutions, which saw a cluster of subsystems installed on multiple workstations, no longer reflects the intuitive way in which users want to drive their electronic security solutions. 

It’s a pivotal development. Bringing together CCTV, access control, intrusion detection, intercom, lift control, fire control and multiple sub systems like lighting, HVAC, PA and process control, gives security managers and their staff real situational awareness. Integration offers layers of value. It makes good decisions much faster, empowers clever procedures, and when applied at the enterprise level, introduces economies of scale, while allowing users to cover more ground with fewer staff. 

Integration that leverages electronic security technology to empower procedures is the key to this and increasingly, we see products and solutions that offer real operational benefits. For the longest time, incidents encoded into thousands of image streams and events in the outpourings of hundreds of thousands of access control doors and millions of alarm inputs have been swept away, tumbled in a river of data to the ocean of written-over-after-30-days. The flecks of operational gold they contain have been lost to users and doubly lost to providers seeking to justify their systems’ expense. 

Integration offers another way. Events are now being combined by clever software and presented to operators and managers in multiple parts of a business, to act upon and to learn from. Integration means that finally, all the raw power of the latest sensor and camera technologies can be harnessed and put to work. Electronic security is the pillar around which a new and holistic kind of integrated solution is being created – smart homes, smart buildings, smart cities. 

It’s the signs of ubiquity in integration that are most inspiring. Not only do we see high end integrations of consummate power, we are seeing integration in security monitoring centres, in intrusion and access control systems, in video surveillance systems, in alarm and automation solutions. 

The new generation of integrated solutions is driven by server software, by web browsers, by mobile apps, permeating the industry’s sense of self, inspiring installations and motivating ever more lateral applications. In a very real sense, integration is a journey we all must make to find our technology’s absolute expression of possibility and our industry’s absolute expression of necessity.

SecTech 2016 hits the road

More than other industries, the electronic security industry is a close knit group bound in part by the integration of a multiplicity of technologies and an unspoken charter of protection. It’s an industry of relationships, local knowledge and trust. Reflecting this spirit of camaraderie and alliance, and a hunger for operational excellence delivered by technological brilliance, SecTech 2016 again takes Australia’s leading manufacturers and distributors on a national tour through 5 state capitals in May next year.      

As well as seeing the latest security technologies, including alarm systems, perimeter detection, access control and video surveillance technologies, in a convenient venue in the capital city of your home state, without the expense of interstate travel, installers, integrators, consultants and end users will see SecTech’s expanded Camera Shootout. ♦

By John Adams